A macabre “road of bones” has been discovered in Siberia.
Officials have opened an inquiry into how a skull and other human remains ended up being used to resurface a frozen highway near Irkutsk.
The bones, which are thought to be at least a century old, were buried in sand that had spread to improve traction on an icy road.
Speaking on a Russian state TV news broadcast, a local government official from the nearby town of Kirensk said that the bones of at least three individuals have been identified.
He added that the bones they may date back to the bloody civil war between the Bolsheviks and White Russian forces that took place immediately after the Russian Revolution in 1917.
The stretch of road where the bones were found is named Timofei Alymov, a Bolshevik leader who fought during the conflict.
Alymov, who was in change of guarding the gold bullion seized by Lenin’s Bolshevik forces, was killed by the forces of Admiral Alexander Kolchak, leader of the Whites, in Kirensk.
Nikolay Trufanov, a local legislator for the ruling United Russia party, wrote on Facebook: “Sand with skulls and bones has been spread on the roads in Kirensk.”
He added: “According to preliminary information, utility workers took sand from territory near a cemetery. I can’t even describe how monstrous it is.”
He said he hoped whoever was responsible would be punished.
The grisly discovery has been likened to the notorious Kolyma highway. That road, which connects Magadan and Yakutsk, was built on Stalin’s orders between 1932 and 1953.
It’s said that the road cost one death for every yard built.
It was built by slave labourers in temperatures as low as -70ºC, and workers who were thought not to be working hard enough were shot by their guards.
An estimated 250,000 lives were lost building the road, which is still regarded as one of the most dangerous highways on Earth.
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